Pumping milk is useful in many situations because it allows a mother to start or to continue breastfeeding.

Pumping milk is useful in different situations:

  • To reduce engorgement.
  • Feed a baby with sucking difficulties (coordination, inverted nipple, refusal of breast, etc.).
  • Feed a baby with low birth weight or with a disease that hampers nursing.
  • Maintaining acceptable milk production in case of illness of the mother or child
  • Store breast milk when the mother is at work.
  • Prevent the milk from going to waste when the mother is away from baby.
  • Pump the milk directly into the baby’s mouth.
  • Prevent nipple and areola dryness and pain.

Pumping milk manually is the easiest way, because it does not require any special equipment, you can do it anywhere, anytime. It is easy to do when the breast is soft, and more difficult in case of breast engorgement or pain. It is best to start pumping milk during the first or second day after childbirth without waiting for the milk supply to come in.

How to pump the milk by hand:

  • Wash your hands
  • Relax
  • Stimulate the nipple and massaging the breast from the outside towards the nipple.
  • Bend over forward and, if necessary, support the breast from underneath.
  • Put the thumb above the areola and the other fingers underneath, at a distance of approximately 1-2 cm from the base of the nipple.
  • Press your fingers in toward your chest.
  • With the thumb and index in opposite positions and symmetrically placed with respect to the nipple, compress the milk ducts located behind the areola, then release.
  • compress and release continuously until the milk does not cease to flow out.
  • Move your fingers around the areola, stopping in several places and repeat the same operation to empty all galactophorous sinuses (also suing your other hand as needed)
  • Every now and then, massage the breast with a light touch starting from root to the nipple, checking that there are no hard areas.
  • Repeat this process until both breasts are soft.

You should avoid squeezing, pulling or pressing on the breast or the nipple to prevent the risk of stopping the flow of milk. If the milk is slow in coming our, you should relax and wait without haste. Practice pumping milk when it is abundant.

How to store breast milk
Breast milk can be stored in a sterile, sealed container, in a cool place. It can be stored for 10 hours at a temperature of 19-22° C, for 8 days in a refrigerator (a 0-4° C), and for 6 months or more in a freezer (at -19 ° C).

The main rules to remember are:

1. Throw away milk that contains blood or any medication.
2. Mix several portions of pumped milk only after they have been well cooled.
3. Freeze breast milk for storing small quantities.
CAUTION: the thawed milk must not be frozen again, but if it is not heated, it can be refrigerated and fed to the baby within 48 hours.
4. Thaw frozen milk at room temperature or in a refrigerator.
5.Warm cold milk in a double boiler, NOT on direct heat; there is no need to heat milk to a temperature higher than ambient temperature.
6. DO NOT heat breast milk in the microwave, it would be altered..

The properly pumped milk can be transported in a suitable, sterile container to be delivered to the childcare center staff, which will proceed to administer it to the baby according to the protocol for collection, storage, transport and administration previously submitted by the Community Pediatrician.